Supreme Court Case Could Have Huge Impact on the Internet

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( – On February 21, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Gonzalez vs. Google, which could fundamentally alter the protections that have been afforded to internet companies in the past two decades.

In the case, it is alleged that YouTube made available the platform and algorithm for the promotion of terrorist content which ultimately led to an increase in terrorist attacks and violence. The case concerns American Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in France during a terror attack several years ago.

So far, Section 230 provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, has provided protection to internet providers by allowing them to not be liable for the content posted on their platforms by third parties. Big Tech maintains that this protection is necessary, but the case will determine the extent to which this protection should still be afforded.

If the Supreme Court rules against Google, then there are a number of changes that can be expected. The first one would be a change in the way that platforms choose which content should be promoted. If companies are held responsible for the content posted by third parties, then the algorithms for what is promoted could fundamentally change.

Depending on the outcome, it is also possible that more cases regarding Section 230 could come out.

The Hill reported that Steve Schwinn, a University of Illinois Chicago Law School professor and long-time court watcher, has said that additional litigation might come out depending on the ruling, especially as it is unclear how the ruling will impact these platforms.

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